Online dating: staying safe | ACMA

Online dating: staying safe

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Using online dating sites can help you meet new people, but it can leave you open to certain risks and vulnerabilities, such as:

  • cyberstalking
  • online identity theft and fraud
  • malicious software (malware)
  • reputation damage
  • scams.

Here’s a general checklist for avoiding problems:

  • Scammers target online dating sites. Never give financial details or money to someone you meet online.
  • Think carefully before giving contact details to people you meet online.
  • Don’t display details such as email addresses, instant messaging user name, or mobile numbers in your profile.
  • Use established and reputable dating sites and familiarise yourself with the privacy policy.
  • Report offensive or harassing content to the site administrator.
  • If you contact someone and wish to meet in person, arrange to meet in a public place and ensure someone else knows where you are going.

Read about these in more detail below:

Cyberstalking

Protecting your physical safety is important when posting your personal and geographical details online.

  • Think about what you post to your profile.
  • Don’t give out your surname, employer, address or email account.
  • Ensure photos you upload don’t have visible street signs or numberplates.
  • If you’re in a local sports team, list only the sport, rather than the name of the team or the location of matches.

Online identity theft and fraud

  • Careful how much you reveal in email and conversations, even after you meet in person.
  • Think about what you post to your profile.
  • Think about the questions you’re answering, and if they can be used as security passwords to your online accounts.

Malicious software (malware)

  • Ensure anti-virus software and firewalls on your computer are up-to-date.
  • Be suspicious of links and attachments.
  • Don’t click on links in emails, if they’re not from people you trust.

Reputation damage

Information posted online can be permanent. Remember the following:

  • Think how you would feel if photos or information you upload are seen by people you know.
  • Ensure you control who sees your photos and personal details.
  • Read terms and conditions before you sign up.
  • Find out about privacy settings. You may be happy for friends view your details, but some sites may use your photo or profile for general advertising, or even pass on your details to a third party without your consent.

Scams

Remember the following to protect yourself financially:

  • Think carefully before sharing information online.
  • Report suspicious behaviour to the site administrator.
  • Monitor online transactions and account balances.
  • Never send money to someone you’ve met online. For more information about common scams involving money, visit Fido and Scam Watch.

Last updated: 13 May 2016